Monday, 18 January 2016

Walking Northwards

18th Jan.  I decided to brave the cold again and take a walk northwards, thus covering an area that is perhaps the least visited part of the patch by me.

Initially walking through the estates I found large numbers of finches, tits and House Sparrows.  I don’t recall seeing so many Chaffinches in the area before, and Greenfinch was represented too.  Greenfinches continue to visit my garden in good numbers.  Probably garden feeding was attracting the birds and once I was out onto the open farmland there was quite a difference.  The hedgerows were virtually silent and the open fields too were free of much life.

I was initially accompanied only by corvids, gulls and pigeons.  Eventually I found at least three Wrens, a lone Dunnock, and six Pheasants.  Two Brown Hares were seen, keeping their distance from the pathways.  As I passed by the site of tall trees I found in them a flock of twenty plus Fieldfare which took off and called as I walked underneath them.

Any blue sky was now being quickly covered by grey cloud approaching from north, east and west and by the time I’d reached the frozen flashes and the area that I had hoped to see Yellowhammers (but didn’t) I could feel the odd spot of rain on my hands and face.  I didn’t feel like being caught out here in heavy rainfall, so I began to head back.  A handful of Golden Plover flew overhead. 

The return walk brought me a single Reed Bunting which flew off the open field into the hedge that lined the pathway, and an excellent sighting of the Fieldfares now on the ground.  These really are wonderfully marked thrushes.

By now most of the frozen pathways are clearing, but the frozen flashes are testimony to the still low temperatures, so my over heating can only be accounted for by the power walking, the layers of clothing and perhaps the heat emanating from the sweet smelling silage that I passed along the way.  I’d enjoyed the walk, the open spaces, the changing sky and the solitude.  The only words spoken in two hours were ‘you alright’ and ‘hi’ to the infrequent passers by.  Thirty to forty Starlings greeted me with their calling as I approached home and I was under lighter skies again.

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